Pitts' Fields looks to return from broken foot on Friday

Updated: February 13, 2008, 9:00 PM ET
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh point guard Levance Fields, sidelined nearly seven weeks with a broken left foot, plans to return Friday night for the Panthers' (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP) game at Marquette.

Fields targeted the Marquette game for his comeback shortly after being injured Dec. 30 at Dayton. At the time, doctors were estimating he would be out eight to 12 weeks.

"I'm looking forward to playing on Friday, as long as the foot feels good," Fields said following practice Wednesday. "So everything is going as planned. It was a little sore [after practice Monday]. Of course, after not doing anything like that the past five or six weeks, you expect that. But it wasn't painful."

With Ronald Ramon switching to point guard while Fields was injured, Pitt (19-5, 7-4 Big East) has gone 8-4 and won its last two games. Ramon had 15 points, all on 3-pointers, during an 82-63 victory over Providence on Tuesday night and hit the winning 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Panthers beat West Virginia 55-54 on Feb. 7.

When Fields returns, Ramon probably will return to shooting guard, though he may go back to point guard when Fields rests. Keith Benjamin, who filled in at guard with Fields out, may split time between the backcourt and small forward, where freshman Gilbert Brown has been starting.

Fields practiced before the Providence game, but coach Jamie Dixon did not want to rush him back and Fields watched the game in street clothes. Unless there is an unexpected setback before Friday, Fields is certain he will play against Marquette (17-6, 7-5).

"As long as I wake up [Friday] and feel good, only a little bit sore, I'll be fine," Fields said. "It's healed, so I don't have to worry about making cuts or anything. The doctor showed me the X-rays, and it's healed. Once that was said and done, it was only a matter of time before I came back."

Fields, a starter for two seasons, is averaging 11.9 points, 5.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press